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Monday, 21 February 2011
Page: 740


Mr MARLES (Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs) (10:38 AM) —I would like to talk this morning about golf, which is an auspicious thing to do this morning as a good Victorian boy, Aaron Baddeley, I hope as we speak, is closing out the Northern Trust Open and will be the first Australian to win on the US tour this year—touch wood. But the particular aspect of golf I would like to talk about is an international golfing event, the Surf Coast Knockout, which was held in my region earlier this year. This was an event which was remarkable for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was a revolutionary style of golf tournament devised by the PGA of Australia. The knockout format over six holes is a world first. It is, if you like, Twenty20 golf.

That it was held on the Surf Coast made it all the more remarkable. This was a major coup for the Greater Geelong region. Many parts of Australia would have dearly loved to host this event. It is recognition of the great golf courses in our region as well as our capacity to host major events. The final day of play was broadcast live on Channel 10. Five hours of Sunday afternoon prime time free-to-air television provided a fantastic opportunity to showcase the best of our region. It was also more than double the national media coverage received by similar PGA events with around the same prize purse.

The PGA is committed to its knockout format and was thrilled with the success of the Surf Coast tournament. More than 4,000 people attended the event, many non-traditional golf fans, which suggests that this type of event could entice a whole new audience to the sport. The PGA has since been contacted by both the European and US PGA tours. They like the concept and see opportunities to replicate the format internationally.

Despite the success of this trailblazing tournament, I believe that for a number of people in Geelong the Surf Coast Knockout seemed to fly under the radar. This needs to change. We need to the see the City of Greater Geelong, Geelong Major Events and the Geelong business community really embrace this tournament. This event has the potential to showcase Geelong each and every year on a Sunday afternoon, free-to-air, prime time spot at the height of summer. The importance of that opportunity should not be underestimated. We all saw how well our city looked during last year’s telecast of the UCI Road Cycling World Championships, and that was a one-off event for Geelong. The Surf Coast Knockout is an annual event and could be annual event not just for the Surf Coast but for the entire Greater Geelong region.

I congratulate Cotton On for their support of this year’s event. To have a successful Geelong business get on board was fantastic to see. It was also wonderful to see the Geelong Advertiser and K-Rock get behind this great event in the way that they did. I would like to thank the PGA for having faith in the Surf Coast Knockout and in particular Andrew Langford-Jones, who was the inspiration for it. Now is the time for Geelong to embrace this. It is a fantastic opportunity for our city and for us to see our economy grow.